The song title means “this table.” It’s a song about arriving in a bar and you immediately feel that the people don’t like your face, don’t like your kind. It was based on an experience in the High North, in the town called Kuujjuaq. And I felt not welcome. The songs says, ‘Here I am, I am going to sit here by myself. For at least now, this table is mine.’ It’s a little story that sums up what goes on in the heads of the people who are criticizing you. ‘What does he have in his coat? It’s such a thick coat. Look how he behaves. Do you think he has money. Will be able to pay for his drinks?’ It turns into a party because this main figure pays for all the drinks. But at the end, it turns around again because he forgot he doesn’t have any cash in his pocket.
For me this song, the rhythm, was very Brazilian, but the harmony is not Brazilian at all. And the melody is very un-Brazilian. ‘Samba Belga’ (‘Belgian Samba’) was just a working title, but a lot of times the working titles pass the period of the deadline.
This is a song that Dona Cila made on a previous tour, mainly on the bus. She was singing it all the time. And then afterwards, I made an arrangement and melodies. ‘Tirar Onda’ means ‘Joking Around and Having Fun.’ It’s just about smoking and drinking cachaça, a local liquor in Northeastern Brazil. Now Dona Cila also recorded this song with a different arrangement for her own CD and changed the lyrics.
This is a song about sitting on a terrace and waiting for somebody who is never coming. You are saying to yourself ‘I have all the time in the world’ as you watch the passersby change. First this kind of people. Then this kind of people. It was written in Paris. It turns out that the story is from the viewpoint of a guy who sells watches, with all of the watches on his sleeves. And he is waiting for his girlfriend.
Carranca wrote this one. This song is based on a cavalo marinho rhythm. But the rest is a clash. Sometimes it is nice to find a pretty harmony, but it is also nice to clash different music styles and see where it ends. And you can do it as long as you have enough respect for tradition, from where it comes. Tahina is a cousin of Cris Nolasco. It’s a family story about a beautiful girl dancing around.
Here in Antwerp there is a song tradition called the ‘smart lap.’ ‘Smart’ here means pain. And ‘lap’ is like a rag. It is a popular type of sentimental song, where the lyrics can be over the top. This one has different scenes and the first one is like a fancy party. A girl walks to the water and throws her silver ring into the water. Much later an old man catches a fish and the names were still in the ring. And it goes on and on. The refrain is ‘When the drunkards start to sing, until the break of dawn, you are alright here. You don’t have to worry. And then the girl says ‘My love has to go.’ The song is very sweet like caramel. I tried to make it authentic for the style.
This song is about trying to dance with one foot. There is a couple and the girl, Maria, wants to dance but the guy has lost his ability to dance on one foot. Then another girl comes around and she wants to have a conversation, but the man’s been drinking and he cannot think clearly anymore. The third girl wants to have a moonlight walk, but the man falls into the carito (a little cement cage in back of the house to breed shellfish/crabs, a typical Northeastern Brazilian thing). There are several girls in the song but they didn’t all make it onto the record. But they will be joining us live again.
This is in honor of the goddess of the sea, Iemanjá. She is usually in pictures as half fish, half woman. It’s a song written by Ganga Barreto. She has these beautiful lyrics talking about the sea and then of this queen of all the water in the world. She will protect you and is in my heart.
Feira de Mangaio
We left this song is the way we discovered it. It’s a traditional song, but it’s not normally with horns. Normally it’s just accordion, percussion, and triangle. We didn’t change the melodies or lyrics, we just added guitar and horns. It’s about standing and selling things in the market. Like ‘Come and buy my stuff!’ Feira means market. Mangaio is the name of a place.
For this song, I wanted to invite a whole big band called the Flat Earth Society. I used to be in this band for five years as well. I thought it would be nice to have such a big band, but it was not possible due to scheduling. But we got half of the band for overdubbing. Lots of horns. They are a big brass band that in a way is typical Flemish, with a lot of absurd melodies. It’s kind of experimental, but most of the members come out of this fanfare brass band tradition.
Coração de Papel
This means ‘paper heart.’ After we finished the album, we were invited to play some shows in Brazil, with our Belgian music. We took the opportunity to record one more song in Brazil. It’s a traditional côco but Dona Cila changed the lyrics. It’s about her oldest son. In school you have this joke that children do mocking the teacher’s name with rhymes. Michel is her son. ‘Michel, Cabeza de papel, Coração de papel.’ It’s just a funny thing. The kind of things that children were saying to him when he was little. You would never hear this kind of bass line or extra melody that comes in with the vibraphone.
Some very nice Brazilians were in town and we invited them to play a version of ‘Tirar Onda.’ We loved it so much we put it on the CD.
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